The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

The Uncle Buck Macaroni and "I Can’t Get Enough Cheese"

This month, Bake @ 350’s “Flavor of the Month” is dedicated to John Hughes. If you grew up in the 80’s, you know who he is. He either wrote, directed and/or produced some of the movies that defined our generation. Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. And what one of us would be complete without the glory that is National Lampoon’s Vacation?

When researching Mr. Hughes’ movies, I discovered, much to my complete joy, that he wrote, directed and produced “Uncle Buck.” Nothing sends my husband and I into more giggles than recalling scenes from this movie. And our favorite scene? The one where Uncle Buck (aka John Candy) discusses his recent need for cheese:

It’s driving me crazy. I’ve been eating a lot of cheese for some reason.

I got a craving for the stuff. Do you think maybe that’s an allergy?


I don’t know, I can’t get enough cheese. I feel like a big mouse.

So in honor of one of our all time favorite movies, I give you “Uncle Buck’s Macaroni and I Can’t Get Enough Cheese.” This is easily my favorite comfort food!!!

1/2 lb. macaroni
1 T butter
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 T hot water
3 c. grated sharp cheese
1 c. milk
1/2 c. seasoned croutons, crushed (I prefer Ritz crackers)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Boil macaroni in water until tender and drain thoroughly.

3. Stir in butter and egg; mix mustard and salt in hot water and add to macaroni.

4. Add cheese, leaving enough to sprinkle on top.

5. Pour into a battered 2 quart casserole dish (8 x 8 baking pan works well, too). Add milk, sprinkle with cheese and croutons/Ritz.

6. Bake for 45 minutes or until the custard is set and the top is crusty.

7. Try not to eat the entire dish by yourself in one sitting.

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SW Daybook: September 28, 2009

FOR TODAY…September 28th

Outside my window…beautiful and sunny, with clouds approaching quickly

I am thinking…that less coffee in the morning has been a good thing

I am thankful for…a husband who backs up our hard drives on the computers regularly

I am wearing…capri sweat pants, t-shirt, Croc flip flops . . . . all pieces from the “do not wear in public” section of my wardrobe

I am remembering…the sound of my laptop as it hit the hardwood floor last night thus rendering the hard drive broken beyond repair

I am going…nowhere today and I love it.

I am reading…“Imperial Woman” by Pearl Buck and just started the “Stepping Up” Bible study by Beth Moore last night with my ladies! Awwwwwwwww yeah!

I am hoping…that I’m not getting sick

On my mind…how nice my hubby was when he realized the hard drive was fried.

From the learning rooms… the kids are doing great this year!

Noticing that…fall is coming whether I like it or not

Pondering these words…the video from Beth Moore last night, “No matter where you are, you don’t have to stay there!”

From the kitchen…nothing but a mess on the counter I really need to get cleaned up.

Around the house…I need to vacuum.

One of my favorite things~the quiet time in the morning before the kids are up.

From my picture journal… nothing. When I broke the hard drive, the pictures I had just taken from our walk in Portland were lost. Thankfully, not much else was. Tyler had just backed up the hard drive that morning!!! How’s that for a God thing???

Join the Daybook fun here.

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Maybe you did.

Maybe you did.

Those words were whispered on my heart about four weeks ago. I was sitting in church two days after my mom died. I wasn’t angry. Wasn’t overly sad. Wasn’t hysterical. Wasn’t depressed. Wasn’t questioning God. Wasn’t demanding answers to “why.” Wasn’t any of the things I thought I might be.

Very matter of factly I thought, “I wish I would have had more time with Mom.”

And then these words came so tenderly from my Father. “Maybe you did.”

Wow. Maybe I did. Maybe I did have ten extra years. Maybe she could have gotten cancer then. I can barely stand the thought. Because if it would have happened 10 years ago, my mom and my kids would have missed each other.

And because maybe we did get extra years with Mom . . . . . . .

I don’t have to tell my daughter about how crazy her grandmother was about her. She knows.

I don’t have to tell my son how proud she would have been of his karate accomplishments. He knows.

I won’t have to tell my kids stories about how their grandmother would have spoiled them rotten.

I won’t have to tell them about how Grandma made every holiday, special event and just life in general so much fun.

I won’t have to tell them that their grandparents would have left their life in Alaska to be a part of their grandchildren’s life if only they would have been given the chance.

I won’t have to tell them about what a loving, giving and completely selfless person their grandmother was.

They know.

And I am forever grateful for the time we were given.

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Because I made a promise . . . .

. . . . I had to say no. And I don’t like saying no. And I really, really, really wanted to do what I was asked to do today.

You wouldn’t believe the ways I could have justified doing it. Here are a few of the top ways:

  1. I didn’t seek it out . . . . . I was asked out of the blue.
  2. It was a good thing. A very good thing.
  3. Did I mention I really wanted to do it?
  4. It would make God happy. At least it would in my mind.

What was the “thing?” The middle school youth pastor called me and asked if I would lead a girl’s small group this year on Tuesday nights. Talk about something being right up my alley! But I seem to remember giving a certain middle school girl her wings this summer. Something about giving her some freedom. And because of scheduling, the only way I could make it work was to be HER small group leader. Dang.

You see, I homeschool the kids which means we see a lot of each other. For the past two years I was also her Sunday school teacher. She’s seen enough of me at both church and home to last her a lifetime. And I really don’t want to make someone so miserable with my hovering ways that she’s tempted to go from this:

To this:

So with a heavy sigh, I had to turn the youth pastor down. I told him to definitely give me a ring when he needs help with things that are more behind the scenes.

Which means I’m already signed up to cook at summer camp next year.

Which means come next July I’ll be saying, “It sounded like such a good idea in September.”

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Works For Me Wednesday – Dinner Prep at Lunchtime

This tip I’m about to share I *think* I got from the Happy Housewife’s website. I’m about 99 9/10th’s sure I got it from her. Anyway, most of you probably already do this and you’re thinking, “Girl, time to get on the reality train!” But hey, some of us are slow learners.

What she said she does is do as much prep work for dinner at lunchtime. Lunchtime around our house is usually pretty laid back. . . . . meaning that I might have extra time on my hands. And since I have a monthly meal plan, most of the time I know what’s for dinner.

Yesterday I decided to give it a whirl. I started out first by shucking corn. On a side note, thank the good Lord above for side burners on gas grills. I was able to cook the corn outside on a VERY hot day and not steam up the inside of the house.

Next, I peeled the garlic, cut up the onions, red potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams for dinner. You can see it here with the 3 ring binder I keep all my menus in.

And here’s what time I got it all done:

It was really great to have all of the prep work down before dinner. I tend to not be the best time manager in the late afternoons {ahem, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter} and this was a great way to ensure a bit more peacefulness at dinner.

The peacefulness was short lived. The grill that I was boiling the corn on and heating up the garlic bread in decided to run out of propane before anything was done. But, my amazing hubby always makes sure there’s a second, completely full tank at my disposal. So while it wasn’t convenient, it was able to get done!!!

For more WFMW tips, head on over to We Are THAT Family’s blog.

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And you thought yesterday’s post was a stand alone event

You all probably thought yesterday’s post was the only time I had ever been insulted whilst getting a pedicure. Sadly, it isn’t. The other event happened years ago when we lived in Alaska. It’s actually been on a list of mine of subjects to blog about. I’ve never gotten around to it and thought now is as good of time as any.

{I know, I know, you’re probably dying to know what else is on that list. Some of the lowest lowlights of my life . . . and we’ll leave it at that for now.}

In 2002-ish I decided to treat myself to a pedicure. At that point, Eagle River, AK only had one nail salon in town and I didn’t want to drive to Anchorage. That left me with one option and I gladly took it. I was so looking forward to a little pampering . . . oh who am I kidding. My kids were 6 and 4 and I needed out of the asylum before the inmates started running it!

I was chatting with the owner, who also happened to be giving me a pedicure. She asked me what I did. I said I stayed home and homeschooled my kids. She froze, looked up at me and very sarcastically said, “Oh, you’re really living the American dream.”

Again, as I live and breathe.

About that time her husband came in and she literally started yelling at him about how poorly he scheduled appointments (I was the only one in there at the time . . . I’m guessing scheduling wasn’t a huge problem). Then she starts going on and on and on about how some people who used to work for her were going to start their own salon in Eagle River and she made a point of calling them daily and telling them they weren’t loyal. That their business would fail. That there weren’t enough people in Eagle River to support two salons.

Sometime during the craziness, Martha Stewart Living came on the t.v. She glared at the t.v., glared at me and said, “THAT must be your favorite show! You and all your housewives.” I was fuming but decided to make her more miserable. I told her that I loved the show, watched it every day while my homeschooled son taught himself. All of which is a lie. I have serious issues with The Martha.

I think she believed me.

Long story short, I never went back. Her salon went out of business and the new salon, as far as I know, is still there. THEY were the nicest, sweetest people you’d ever want to meet.

So between this and the hair straightening guy at the mall wanting to get into a verbal argument about why curly hair is no longer in style, it really IS a miracle I go out in public anymore.

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And then material just presents itself

As most of you know, this was a really rough summer for me. It was my mom’s last summer and she was very, very ill for most all of it. She passed away one month ago today. I’ve struggled with my blog for a few months now . . . . wondering if it’s even worth it. Last night I think I pretty much decided to quit altogether and then today happened.

Tyler & Austin spent the day at Mt. Hood today riding the alpine slides. I was feeling extra girlie and treated Amber and myself to pedicures. I had the cutest, most adorable little slip of a girl working on my toes. At one point she looks up at me and says, “Your eyebrows are really nice.” I thanked her and told her my neighbor, who has a salon in her house, does them. That I’m so lucky to have her as my neighbor and how great she is, blah, blah, blah. The owner of the salon I’m in happens to be giving a pedicure right next to us.

And then this ensues:

The owner looks up at me and says, “Oh no, they’re too thick.” (I just had them done last week.) I was shocked. She said, “And they’re not even . . . . I can just take a little line off and they’ll look much better.” I said that I had very thick, dark hair and if my eyebrows are too thin, it just throws everything off. She says, “Well, if a person looks right at your face and sees you eybrows, you look scary.”

As I live and breathe.

Then she scrunched up her face in an attempt to make her most scary face and then repeated, “Your eyebrows look scary like that.” To which I replied, “Well, I like them.”

And my sweet little adorable slip of a pedicurist said sheepishly, “I like them, too.”

How could I ever quit when I’m given material like that??

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SW Daybook: September 14, 2009


Outside my window…cloudy, but supposed to clear off and be beautiful for most of the rest of the week.

I am thinking…after the kids’ lack of sleep this weekend, do I really want to wake them up, or just let them sleep?

I am thankful for…a very busy week ahead – it means we are active, healthy and growing.

I am wearing…miracle upon miracles, I am NOT in my pajamas! I’ve showered and am in my non-ghetto sweats and a tank top.

I am remembering… my sweet, sweet mom who passed away on August 20, 2009.

I am creating…uhhhhhh, nothing.

I am going… to the orthodontist, Peet’s coffe and the grocery store today. Oh, and a Sisters In Law event tonight.

I am reading… “Unlikely Disciple” by Kevin Roose. I went to the university he “researched” in this book. I can’t put the thing down.

I am hoping… for this week to not be as stressful as I think it might.

On my mind…my OCD beagle. She’s driving me nuts. She needs her own blog.

From the learning rooms…finished our first week of school last week – all things considered, it went very well.

Noticing that…my son is turning into quite a young man.

Pondering these words…Nothing comes to mind. I’m not that deep.

From the kitchen…nothing. Hence the trip to the grocery store today.

Around the house…the kitchen could be cleaner.

One of my favorite things . . . Tully’s coffee in the morning, with French vanilla Splenda sticks and fat free half and half.

A few plans for the rest of the week: getting my hair cut (don’t EVER let me go seven months between cuts again!), seeing if I need surgery on a finger, going to the Oregon Zoo on Friday . . . . and much, much more.

From my picture journal… the kids on their first day of school last week:

Join in the SWDB fun HERE.

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Labor of Love

Well, I think I’m back to my blog. Maybe. Sorta. We’ll see.

Anyway, I wanted to celebrate Labor Day with this post. Today we had a wonderful outcome of the labor of love my husband and I endeavored on almost 14 years ago. The purposeful way we have tried very, very hard to raise our children.

The last thing we ever wanted to be as parents was simply reactionary. You know those kinds of parents. They have no thought beyond how to react to what is going on around them. No plan or any idea of how they’re going to teach their children. Lead them. Show them the way. We had seen way too much of that going on around us and decided before we had kids, we would be the exact opposite of that.

We have tried to guide, to lead, to train, to everything, all the while doing our best to impart that we really do have their best interests at heart. It’s been a very long, but rewarding road. And I don’t see the end in sight.

But today was a great little perk along the way. We had some drama after Tyler looked at Austin’s cell phone bill. Long story short, he went WAY over his allotted texts before he upped his plan (and yes, he pays for his own texting and he bought his own super cool phone). So I brought it up this morning because Tyler worked today. Austin just kind of winced and groaned when I told him about it . . . . I think he knew what was coming long ago – lol. At least he has the money to pay us for it.

After we talked, he must’ve asked me 4 or 5 times, “Uh, so when’s Dad going to be home?” I almost said, “Uh, same bat time, same bat channel as every other work day.” Around the 5th time I asked why he wanted to know. He said, “I need to talk to him. {pregnant pause} There’s this girl who won’t stop texting me and I don’t know if I should keep texting her. I met her at camp and one of my friends gave her my cell number.”

After I started breathing again, I replied, “WHO THE HECK IS THE HUSSY? JUST TELL ME, TELL ME! SHE’LL WISH SHE NEVER MET YOU! That sounds like a really good thing to talk to your dad about.”

After my pupils were done dilating, my heart soared. This is JUST what Tyler and I have been working so hard for. An almost 14 year old son who goes to his dad when he’s having problems. Tyler and Austin have a great relationship . . . . Austin still pretty much thinks his dad walks on water. But I always wondered when the bigger issues of life came around, just who the kids would turn to.

As luck would have it, our bathroom fan needed replacing tonight. So while Tyler and Austin were buying a new one at Home Depot, Tyler talked the girl thing over with Austin. Basically, for right now, Austin said he just wants to be an 8th grader who plays video games, does karate, plays guitar, rides his longboard and that’s enough. He told Tyler that maybe later he’d want to talk to her more, but not right now.

And after I picked myself up off the floor I rejoiced. I thanked God for being so true to His Word . . . . . train a child up in the way he should go and when he is older, he will not depart from it. Don’t worry, I’m not naive enough to believe that things will always be this smooth. But it was sure a nice little bonus along the way.

Tyler gave Austin some tips on letting a girl down easily. He even volunteered to call the girl’s parents, but Austin gave THAT thought a resounding no. At least I know Tyler, the king of charm, class and sweetness, let him know the best way to do the least amount of damage to a young girls’ heart.

My heart, on the other hand, got quite the workout today.

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Works for Me Wednesday: Kitchen Organization Tip

Watching all those years of HGTV finally paid off for me a few years ago. After sooooooooo many projects on there that I:

  1. Couldn’t afford
  2. Didn’t have the space
  3. Didn’t have the time
  4. Didn’t have the talent
  5. All of the above

I finally found something that would work for me!! On some episode about organizing something, the professional told the peon that all she needed to organize her storage containers was plastic baskets. WHAT??? I was in shock. The cabinet my storage containers were in was in a constant state of “just been hit by a tornado.” It was embarrassing.

Well, I took the professionals advice. I broke out the measuring tape and made myself a little trip to K-Mart. {Yes, they still exist.} And here’s what I came up with. It’s the BEST organization idea because it seems to be the only one I can stick to.

Join the “Works For Me Wednesday” fun over at We Are THAT Family.

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